Introducing Cats To Each Other
by Robert Blake
When it is time to introduce a new cat to your home, all parties involved
will need to learn to make changes for cat health and cat safety. For people
this will not be too difficult, however the existing cat and the new cat are who
we need to focus on. Though cats are generally solitary in the wild, they are
typically able to adapt to new family members if done correctly. The territorial
nature will be the main issue, so you should proceed slowly and attentively when
introducing cats to each other.
When dealing with kittens, it will not take so much time, maybe a week or so.
Kittens are more amenable to change, while an older cat might not be. The
attitudes and personalities are huge factors. You must take care to give love
and affection to existing cats, so they will not feel usurped by the new cat.
Keep the newcomer in a separate room to kick off the introduction. An unused
bathroom or bedroom with bed, water, food, litter box, toys, and a repeated
human visitor to play with will be necessary. The existing cat will be denied
entry here, so the new cat can be comfortable and feel protected.
Certainly, the new cat will be concerted, since the existing cat will yowl and
hiss through the door. This is a message that the house is already the property
of a cat. Let them go on, because they need to get that out of their system
before they can start accepting the newcomer. Eventually they'll stop that.
Their scents will pass under the door, and possibly paws as well. When the
resident cat calms down praise them for their restraint.
Next you start them using the same food dish, further intermixing their scents.
Don't feed them together yet, though you will be using the same dish for both
cats. Inexorably they will get become accustomed to the unusual smells and the
danger is lessened.
After, you release them in the house together for increasing time frames.
Hissing and dominance games will ensure, but do not allow actual fighting. This
is the time for playing with them together and sharing. Extend the lengths of
time, but the new cat will need to go in the protected room for some of the time
as well, to calm them and all parties need their individual time with the parent
It does not usually happen immediately, but after a while you can leave them
unsupervised. They may not yet be close, but acquiescence to the fait accompli
is the crucial task. It's all a question of time from there on out. With the
territorial concerns resolved (and that includes jurisdiction over the humans,
too!) your cats will work on being lifelong pals and happy healthy cats.
Robert Blake runs Happy Healthy Cats (http://happyhealthycats.com)
and All Things Catnip (http://allthingscatnip.com).
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